Feeds

ISP bosses told to get real on broadband speeds

Ofcom Consumer Panel wades in

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Ofcom's independent consumer quango has called on ISP bosses to ensure people feel less cheated by the broadband packages they advertise.

Dissent has been mounting over "up to" advertising of broadband speeds. For most consumers, an "up to 8Mbit/s" line will crawl to about half that speed because of contention, poor quality wiring and distance from the telephone exchange.

In her letter to the chief execs of the six most popular ISPs, Ofcom Consumer Panel chairman Colette Bowe wrote: "We are of course aware of the technical reasons for the 'up to' terminology that you use.

"I would however like to have your views about how these technical issues might be better addressed in terms of giving clearer information to potential customers."

The Consumer Panel acts as an advisor to Ofcom's regulators. It has no powers of its own, but acts as a "consumer conscience" for the watchdog, which can opt to follow its advice or ignore it.

Consumer confidence in internet providers has taken a battering as margins and therefore customer service have been squeezed. The ISP trade association ISPA will be discussing dissatisfaction with fair usage policies and bandwidth at its conference at the end of this month.

Despite its toothlessness, the Ofcom Consumer Panel has asked the ISPs to consider some specific changes they could make to improve the reputation of the industry. Bowe has suggested the bigwigs agree to advise prospective customers their likely speed on their individual line. They should also extend the cooling-off period, and change contracts so people can switch ISP if the quality of their connection is too poor, she wrote.

Ofcom proper is currently consulting on how best to fund a modern internet infrastructure for the UK. Replacing the dodgy copper and aluminium last mile - which encourages ISPs to use weasel words in their marketing - with fibre-optics will cost billions.

New cabling would make it easier to guarantee speeds by removing the distance and poor quality wiring factors, but may not solve the contention issue, as many Virgin Media customers can attest today. Few in future would notice the difference between 100Mbit/s and 50Mbit/s, however. ®

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.